Umhlanga is a residential, commercial and resort town on the north coast of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, created in 2000, which includes the greater Durban area.
Umhlanga Rocks has many luxury hotels and apartments, right on the beach, including the Cabana Beach Hotel, the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Umhlanga Sands Hotel and Pearls of Umhlanga apartments. Many of these have views of the landmark lighthouse.
Umhlanga Ridge is a new retail, office and residential node, situated on a hill, overlooking the Indian Ocean. It was largely developed on sugarcane land, by property development company, Moreland Estates, owned by the Tongaat-Hulett sugar group. Located on the ridge, are Gateway Theatre of Shopping and other shopping centres, motor dealerships, a private hospital and many offices.
Umhlanga, together with Umdloti forms the Sugar Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
Other places of interest in Umhlanga are the Umhlanga Country Club and Mount Edgecombe Country Club in nearby Mount Edgecombe.
Umhlanga means the place of reeds, in Zulu and is named after the Ohlanga River, which reaches the Indian Ocean three kilometres north of the town. Umhlanga was formed in 1972, through the merger of Umhlanga Rocks, a seaside resort town, and the suburb of La Lucia.
Umhlanga has become the focus of development in the greater Durban area, with many businesses relocating offices from central Durban, because of urban decay, similarly to Sandton forming the new centre of Johannesburg. In line with this, Durban International Airport will move to La Mercy, near Umhlanga, and re-open as King Shaka International Airport, in the near future.
Ballito, Salt Rock and Shakas Rock are a favourite holiday destinations, for local South Africans and also foreign tourists, on their way up to Zululand and the Battlefields.
Tongaat is a sugarcane growing town, that is situated on the banks of the Tongati River, about 37km north of Durban and 28km south of Stanger. It now forms part of eThekwini, the Greater Durban metropolitan area. It's population is predominantly people of Indian descent.
Aesthetically English colonial, but distinctly cosmopolitan in flavour, Tongaat, part of the Sugar Coast, now supports one of the largest sugar-producing districts in the world.
Tongaat was established in 1945 and its name was corrupted from the river's name, Tongati, the Zulu word for the Strychnos mackenii trees, that flourish on its banks.
The town is the centre for the Tongaat-Hulett Sugar Limited and the Moreland Molasses Companies. Maidstone Sugar Mill, one of the country's first mills, was completed in 1850. Some original sugar-crushing methods are still employed there.
Tongaat also hosts the Tongaat branch of the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, founded by Rev John G. Lake in 1908. The Juggernathi Puri Temple, is a national monument and tourist attraction. It was built in 1920 by the late Pandit Sirikishan Maharaj in a North Indian style. The Tongaat South Methodist Church was opened on 26 September 1979. The Sri Siva Soobramaniar Temple, hosts what is arguably South Africa's largest Kavadi Festival, involving some of the oldest religious rituals in recorded history.
Tongaat's Victoria hospital opened in 1987.
Things to do include Crocodile Creek, a crocodile farm where feedings can be viewed. Many scenic drives in the area, are picturesque, including the road from Verulam and the parks and gardens of Amanzimyama, on the approach into Tongaat. The Dudley Pringle Dam is a scenic venue north of the town; ideal for picnicking and watersports.
Richards Bay is a city encompassing one of South Africa's largest harbours. It is situated on a 30 square kilometre lagoon, of the Mhlatuze River, on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
The town began as a makeshift harbor, that was set up by Commodore of the Cape, Sir Frederick Richards, during the Boer War of 1879. In 1935 the Richards Bay Game Sanctuary was created, to protect the ecology around the lagoon and later, by 1943 it expanded into the Richards Bay Park. The town was laid-out on the shores of the lagoon in 1954 and proclaimed a town in 1969. In 1976 Richards Bay Harbour was converted into a deep water harbor, with a railway and an oil/gas pipeline linking the port to Johannesburg.
The Richards Bay Coal Terminal is the largest coal export facility in the world, with a planned capacity of 91 million tons per year, by the first half of 2009. In 2007, annual throughput was 66.12 million tons.
Two aluminium smelters and a fertiliser plant have been erected at the harbour. Iron ore, rutile (titanium oxide) and zircon are mined from the sand dunes, close to the lagoon, by Richards Bay Minerals Richards Bay Minerals. Local exports include coal, aluminium, titanium and other heavy minerals, granite, ferrochrome, paper pulp, woodchips and phosphoric acid.
Richards Bay is a popular kite-surfing destination, thanks to consistent winds blowing from the North East.
Eshowe, Uthungulu District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, (28°53'18?S, 1°26'54?ECoordinates: 28°53'18?S, 31°26'54?E) is the oldest town of European settlement, in Zululand. Eshowe's name is said to be inspired by the sound of wind blowing through the more than 4 km² of the indigenous Dhlinza Forest, the most important and striking feature of the town. The name is most likely to have been derived from the Zulu word for the xysmalobium shrubs, showe or shongwe.
Today Eshowe is a market town, with a 100 km radius catchment area, two shopping centres, a main bus station serving the hinterland, a major hospital, and several schools.
In 1860, Cetshwayo, then only a Zulu prince, built a kraal here and named the place Eziqwaqweni (the abode of robbers). A mission station was established at Eshowe in 1861, once permission has been obtained from the Zulu King Cetshwayo, by a Norwegian missionary, the Reverend Ommund Oftebro. Later, the station was called the KwaMondi Mission Station (place of Mondi) after the Zulu name which was given to Oftebro.
Siege of Eshowe
During the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, Colonel Charles Pearson lead the coastal column to Eshowe. This column encountered part of the Zulu army at Nyezane, but after a short battle, pushed on to the KwaMondi Mission, which was fortified and called Fort Eshowe. The forces under Colonel Pearson were besieged for 10 weeks, until relieved on April 3, by Lord Chelmsford, after the Battle of Gingindlovu.
Capital of Zululand
After the war, Eshowe was established as the capital of Zululand and the home of the British resident in Zululand, Melmoth Osborne. The nearby town of Melmoth is named after him.
In 1887 Eshowe became the capital of Zululand and was officially declared a township in 1891.
In 1947, the British Royal Family (King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret) visited and were welcomed in Eshowe by King Cyprian. The family toured the Dlinza Forest and spent a night in 'The Residency' in Eshowe.
Eshowe served as the seat of the first Black Diocesan Bishops in South Africa, of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church.
Empangeni is a town on the KwaZulu-Natal NorthCoast. It is approximately 160 kilometres north of Durban, situated in the hilly countryside of the Uthungulu District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
It overlooks a flat coastal plain and the major harbour town of Richards Bay, only 15 kilometres away. The City of uMhlathuze was formed, by joining the towns of Empangeni and Richards Bay together. Transportation to other places in South Africa is provided by the N2 freeway that runs through the town.
The climate is sub-tropical, with an average temperature of 28.4°C in summer and 14.5°C in Winter. Empangeni's population is 16,500.
In 1851, the Norwegian Missionary Society established a mission station on the banks of the eMpangeni river. The river was named after the profusion of Mpange trees (Trema guineensis) growing along its banks. The mission was later moved to Eshowe, 61 kilometres north-west. In 1894 a magistracy was established. The Zululand Railway reached the town in January 1903 and linked the area to Durban and Eshowe. The government planted eucalyptus trees in 1905 as part of an experimental timber plantation. The plantation was a success and led to a large scale planting along the coastal belt. In 1906 Empangeni became a village. Rapid expansion began, when a sugar mill was erected at Felixton. The establishment of the Empangeni Sugar Mill set the area on the road to rapid development. Empangeni was officially proclaimed as a township, on 15 January 1931 and declared a borough, on 13 October 1960.
It has three major High Schools, Empangeni High, St Catherines(a catholic convent), and Felixton College along with three major primary schools, Grantham Park, Heuwelland and Empangeni Prep.
The little village of St. Lucia is situated on the lagoon and forms part of the world famous St’ Lucia wetlands known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa about 275 kilometres north of Durban (28°0'S 2°30'ECoordinates: 28°0'S 32°30'E).
It is South Africa's third-largest protected area, spanning 280 km of coastline, from the Mozambican border in the north, to Mapelane, south of the St Lucia estuary, and made up of around 3,280 km² of pristine natural ecosystems, managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. The park includes the St Lucia Game Reserve, False Bay Park, St Lucia Marine Reserve, Sodwana Bay National Park, Maputaland Marine Reserve, Cape Vidal, Ozabeni, Mfabeni, Tewate Wilderness Area and Mkuze Game Reserve. The park was previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, but was renamed, effective from 1 November 2007. The word 'isimangaliso' is Zulu for 'a marvel'.
Like many tidal estuaries, the park has diverse wildlife, reflecting the concentration of diverse ecosystems, created by variations in the degree of salinity from season to season, year to year, and location to location within the park. The estuary is the largest in Africa and boasts, among other attractions, the world's largest forested sand dunes, which reach up to 180 m (600 feet). Swamps along the border of the lake, and "sponge" areas are fed by water seeping through the dunes; these provide critical refuges to freshwater life when the lake salinity is particularly high.
The park consists of five individual ecosystems. These ecosystems function totally independent yet fully integrated with each other.
The five ecosystems in the park are:
Caves to form part of KZN heritage trail
The Ntaba Ntuzuma mountains, near Ulundi, have largely been left in peace for years, until recently, when they suddenly became a hive of activity. This is after members of the Ngobese clan went to the mountains five years ago, to rediscover and claim the caves on the side of the mountain, where their ancestors lived more than 200 years ago.
The area where the mountains and the caves are located is about 20km from Ulundi, on the outskirts of the Makhosini/Ophathe Heritage Park, where the graves of Zulu kings are situated.
The caves are located on the steep cliffs of the mountains. Plans are afoot to include the mountains and the caves into the wider tourism node, along with the heritage park and other local tourist attractions.
Sikhulisa Udelwa, an organisation in association with the Ngobese clan, says the caves were impregnable to enemies of those who lived in them. Legend has it that the clan was lured out of the caves by King Senzangakhona, father of King Shaka, whose warriors tempted them out by roasting an ox outside the caves. Five caves - with signs that they were inhabited by people many years ago - have so far been found.
The Ngobese clan will be out again, in coming years, at Ntaba Ntuzuma mountains, wanting to find more caves. Zimele Ngobese, who was part of the 1999 expedition and who is also the chairman of Sikhulisa Udelwa, said: "Among the things we found in some of the caves were the grinding stones, wooden spoons and other items, which confirmed to us the legend that our forebears were renowned brewers of beer."
"We handed these items to the Dundee museum, where they have been put on display." Ngobese said Sikhulisa Udelwa was an apolitical organization, arising from a trend in the mid-1990s, of people of different clans trying to trace their roots.
He said informal meetings culminated in their going to the Ntaba Ntuzuma mountains in 1999 and that since 2000, his clan has been holding annual traditional ceremonies there. Bongani Mdunge, co-ordinator of the Amafa/Heritage KwaZulu-Natal, said his organisation planned to make the caves part of its tourism projects. He said an information centre would be built at the heritage park and would display, among other things, items from the caves as well as information to get tourists interested. "
If funds are available, we would like to build a road to the caves that will pass through the heritage park, so that tourists can have easy access," he said.